Apparel Hall impressions: Exhibitors offering highly functional and versatile collections, more youthful and active looks

The PGA Show apparel aisles are bustling with excitement and activity as PGA of America Golf Professionals and buyers scramble to view as many of the exciting new fall collections as possible. There are many beautiful colors on display – from fresh takes on blue and green, to varied shades of orange and more white than the market has seen in recent seasons.

The trend toward highly functional and increasingly versatile collections that work on or off the course could been seen in many lines, including Dunning’s first under new designer/creative director Omar Jermaine. The fall men’s golf and lifestyle collection features weather-accommodating fabric technology and ergonomic silhouettes that increase player mobility, while the women’s collection includes engineered prints linking the tops to bottoms and angular cuts blending fine details with functionality.

“These are garments you can play in and also go out in,” Jermaine says. “For us, it’s about combining sports and luxury and adding active details to make it a special item.”

Another trend on display is the number of companies presenting more youthful, active looks, with companies like Antigua, Puma and Rhone showing men’s joggers at the Fashion Show, and virtually every line including hoodies in a wide variety of colors, weights, fabrics and styles. Crewneck pullovers are also making a comeback as companies look to present the next best style to freshen up their assortments.

Also popular in fashion are higher-end staple items golfers will invest in as a wardrobe centerpiece – and KJUS hits that spot with the Pro 3L 3.0 Jacket for men and women, a breathable and lightweight full stretch body-mapped jacket with new Hyper 3 stretch panels for full freedom of motion. Also in that category were exhibitors like Tumi (luggage, bags and other accessories), Tilley (headwear and apparel), Kinross (cashmere sweaters and outerwear), and Field Day and Billy Reid, lifestyle brands that are just coming into the golf space.

A popular trend on the women’s side was lifestyle collections with transitional pieces that are both casual and elevated. Ahead is making a mark with pieces like the Sue Pullover in 18 colors, Fleetwood Jacket in new shades of mineral blue, black and ivory and Catalina hoody in blue and white that can be worn to the beach or a barbecue and is multi-generational. “The explosive growth of the game is being driven by women, and I think it’s extremely important for clubs to pay attention to that,” said CEO Anne Broholm. “Lifestyle pieces are easier because they transcend all ages and fashion sensibilities. It’s a foolproof way to go into women’s in a bigger way at a lower risk.”

Showing a point of differentiation is crucial to success in this growing market, and one of the brands creating a buzz is Eastside Golf, whose nine collaborations with the Jordan shoe brand were on display at the booth, as well as an array of polos, pullovers, jackets, hoodies and other products – many featuring the company’s unique “swingman” logo.

“I’ve been coming to the PGA Show for the last 10 years, and I think it’s so important to offer something fresh and new,” said Eastside Golf co-wner Earl Cooper. “The game wants it. The game needs it. And people have rallied behind us.”

New and different is also important on the women’s side of the market, and Greg Norman Collection caught some attention with a stretch mesh with a floral pattern layered over ML75 jersey in a top and skort.

Tipping the scales in a very different direction is Fore All, with its modern vintage looks with a “touch of fun” in green varsity style jackets and checkered patterned polos, dresses and other items. “We’re paying attention to a younger demographic and getting attention from everyone from high school players to 80-year-old women,” co-founder Michelle Money said.